New year, new me right?
Here are my thoughts on how I am going to improve in my swimming and stay focused.
1. Plan your workouts
More than usual I go for a swim not having thought out my session before I jump in. As I have not been training for events I haven't been following a structure, which means my swimming becomes slower paced with more breaks. I can imagine there are quite a few of you out there, event or no event, that are not always structuring your sessions. By sticking to a plan you will achieve results quicker, as you will have benchmarks that you can work to beat.
2. Swim with a friend
My friend and I have decided to swim with each other at least twice per week to help keep us on track. This will hold both of us accountable to our sessions as we will not want to let one another down. Find a buddy to swim with, it makes the sessions more enjoyable, and adds an element of healthy competition to your training.
3. Set small goals throughout the year
I haven't raced for a few years so thinking about the distances I will have to swim can feel quite daunting at times. I like to break the bigger picture down into bitesize chunks. Think of how runners train for marathons, they don't start off running 20 miles, they build up the distance- do the same with your swimming, by staying consistent with your training you will build the distance up over time.
4. Getting faster?
I like to push myself not only on the distance I can swim but also on my fitness. Record your 50m, 100m and 400m every 6 weeks. This will also help boost your confidence and help keep you consistent with your training.
5. Go to your early morning sessions
From my experience of coaching in pools I see the same people in the morning, they seem to have their routine and they stick to it. Lunchtime and evening sessions there is less consistency. This is because life gets in the way, the more hours you spend awake the more excuses that can pile up for why you can't make your swim session. Set your alarm early, make the morning session. You will feel better for it.
7. Spice things up
I enjoy swimming longer distances, instead of sprints. We all need to get out of our comfort zone whilst training, working on weaknesses is key. Even if you don't feel you have a preference on sprints or distance you may still have been swimming the same sets for the last year. If you didn't make much improvement on your fitness and swim times then what makes you think it will be any different this year? By changing around the distances you swim and the intervals you use you keep pushing your body to improve.
8. Ride out the storm
Not every training session will make you feel like an agile dolphin slicing through the water, but potentially more like getting hit round the face by a wet fish. Everyone has good and bad days, learn from it and move onto the next session.
9. Enjoy the grind
Don't be in the love with the end result, love the work and the grind towards it. I know so many people who have signed up for races just thinking of that day and say they dislike the training. If you don't enjoy the training towards it then what's the point? You won't reach your potential. Enjoy your sessions by putting these suggestions into practice. Go swimming with a friend by making it more social, in the summer visit different open water venues. Make a weekend of training in a different part of the country, bring family or friends along for the ride, they can go exploring the area for the best cafes for when your training session is done. Enjoy the journey.
Happy New Year x